Many people often associate urologists with male health conditions, but do women see urologists? While it is true that urologists can treat many conditions specific to men, such as erectile dysfunction and prostate cancer, urologists can also treat the urinary problems of women. So, we’re going to answer the question, “do women see urologists?” with a resounding “yes!” and explain why they do.
Urinary Tract Infections
Women definitely see urologists, but why do women see urologists? One of the top reasons a woman would see a urologist is for the diagnosis and treatment of urinary tract infections (UTIs). According to the Urology Care Foundation, UTIs cause more than 8.1 million visits to health care providers each year and 60 of those cases are women.
A UTI occurs when bacteria get into a person’s urine which then infects the part of the urinary tract, which includes the urethra, bladder, and kidneys. A urinary tract infection causes symptoms like pain in the pelvis, lower abdomen, or lower back. Other symptoms include increased frequency and urgency of urination as well as burning or pain while urinating. Complications can occur when the kidneys are infected and the infection spreads into the bloodstream.
Bladder Control Issues
Why do women see urologists? Many women go to the urologist to have bladder control issues diagnosed and treated. Another name for bladder control issues is urinary incontinence. There are different types of urinary incontinence. These include:
- Overflow incontinence: urine leaks from the bladder because it does not empty entirely.
- Stress urinary incontinence: Difficulty holding urine when pressure is put on the bladder, such as when sneezing, coughing, jumping, or exercising.
- Urge incontinence: The sudden and intense urge to urinate followed by an uncontrolled loss of urine.
- Functional incontinence: A physical or mental impairment prevents a person from making it to the restroom in time to urinate.
- Mixed incontinence: Urinary incontinence with more than one type of symptom.
Kidney & Bladder Stones
Bladder stones and kidney stones are masses of minerals that develop in the bladder and kidneys. The stones build-up due to high concentrations of urine crystallize. Some stones are small enough to pass on their own without treatment. Other stones require medications or surgery to remove. If bladder stones or kidney stones are left untreated, they can lead to infections and serious complications.
Bladder stones often occur in people who have trouble emptying their bladders. Kidney stones may be caused by diets high in calcium and/or salt. Dehydration and low urine volume can also contribute to the development of urinary stones.
Another reason women see urologists is because of a condition called interstitial cystitis (IC), also known as bladder pain syndrome (BPS). People with interstitial cystitis experience pain and pressure in the bladder area. They may also have lower urinary tract symptoms similar to those of a UTI, but there is no infection.
Symptoms include urinary frequency and urgency. Symptoms may be mild to severe and some people have symptoms that persist for six weeks or more while others have symptoms that come and go. The symptoms of IC can be severe enough to interfere with someone’s everyday life.
The Urology Care Foundation estimates that 3 to 8 million women have symptoms of interstitial cystitis. IC/BPS doesn’t have a definite cause, but it might be due to defects in bladder tissues, autoimmune issues, inflamed cells, damage to the bladder caused by infection, or changes in the nerves in the bladder.
Overactive bladder (OAB) is not a disease. Rather, it is the term used to describe a group of urinary symptoms. Symptoms of OAB include sudden and uncontrolled need to urinate. Many people have this urge many times throughout the day and night. Some people leak urine when they feel the urge.
Pelvic Organ Prolapse
One of the most common answers to the question, “why do women see urologists?” is because of a condition called pelvic organ prolapse. This is a condition that occurs when the muscles and tissues that support the uterus, bladder, and rectum become weak or loose. This causes one or more pelvic organs to drop and press into the vagina. According to the Office on Women’s Health, pelvic organ prolapse occurs in about 3% of women in the US.
If you’re a woman and you need to see a urologist, Alliance Urology Associates in Greensboro is here to help. Our providers are experts in providing quality care to adult male and female patients with urologic disorders. If you have questions or concerns about any of the above issues, call our office at (336) 274-1114 to make an appointment.